The Nizamabad seat from where Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha is seeking re-election is set to create history with the largest number of candidates, including 178 farmers, who entered the fray to highlight their problems.
Kavitha, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and former union minister Renuka Chowdary are among the prominent candidates for April 11 elections to all 17 Lok Sabha seats from Telangana.
The farmers in the fray, majority of them turmeric and red sorghum, want to highlight the failure of the state and the central governments in assuring them remunerative prices for their produce. The turmeric farmers are also demanding settting up of national turmeric board in Nizamabad.
More than 2.95 crore voters will decide the fortunes of 443 candidates including, 185 candidates in Nizamabad in the single phase polling on Thursday.
The constituency is also set to enter the records book as the Election Commission of India has decided to use 12 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each polling booth for conducting the polling process.
KCR’s daughter is locked in a three-cornered contest with Congress Secretary Madhu Yaskhi Goud and BJP’s D. Arvind.
According to Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar, the state has 2,95,18,964 voters comprising 1,48,42,619 men, 1,46,74,977 women and 1,368 third gender voters. The number of voters has gone up by over 14 lakh since the Assembly elections held in December 2018.
Buoyed by its landslide victory in Assembly elections, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is confident of a clean sweep along with its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), whose president Asaduddin Owaisi appears to be on course to win the Hyderabad seat for a fourth term.
Leading the TRS campaign, party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao sought another resounding mandate so that the party can play a key role in formation of next government at the Centre.
KCR, who last year mooted Federal Front as an alternative to BJP and Congress, has been telling every election meeting that the region parties will form non-BJP non-Congress government and bring a qualitative change in the national politics.
“From galli to Dilli, you need your own representatives to safeguard the state’s interests. Those who are gulams (slaves) of Dilli are not expected to do anything for state,” says KCR targeting both the national parties.
A key feature of this election is the absence of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who for the first time in its history is not contesting Lok Sabha elections in Telangana. As its alliance with the Congress in the recent Assembly elections failed to pay the dividends, TDP decided to stay away from the polls.
YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which contested 2014 elections, has also opted out. It did not contest the Assembly elections as well.
The Congress, which had bagged 19 seats in 119-member Assembly, looks demoralised with 10 MLAs and several other leaders defecting to TRS during last one month. In the absence of strong candidates to take on TRS, the party had to fall back on the leaders who were defeated in the Assembly elections.
These include party’s state working presidents A. Revanth Reddy and Ponnam Prabhakar, who are contesting from Malkajgiri and Karimnagar constituencies respectively.
In Khammam, Congress senior leader and former union minister Renuka Chowdary is locked in a direct fight against Nama Nageswara Rao, who quit TDP to join TRS and within hours was rewarded with a ticket.
In Secunderabad, the lone seat won by BJP in 2014, its candidate G. Kishan Reddy is locked in a triangular contest with Anjan Kumar Yadav of Congress and T. Sai Kiran Yadav of the TRS.
Khammam, Secunderabad, Nagarkurnool and Nalgonda are the four seats besides Hyderabad which TRS never won since it was floated in 2001 by KCR to revive Telangana movement.
The party is also looking for first victory in Malkajgiri, which came into existence in 2009 following delimitation of constituencies and is the largest constituency in the country with over 31 lakh voters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a couple of election rallies while central ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also campaigned for the party. They targeted KCR for his family rule and alliance with AIMIM. They highlighted the achievements of the BJP-led NDA government during last five years and claimed that the country can be safe and prosper if it retains the power.
For Congress, its president Rahul Gandhi addressed five rallies and a couple of central leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, campaigned for the party, highlighting the promises made in the manifesto, especially the minimum income scheme under which every poor family will get Rs.72,000 annually.
The Congress party pins its hopes on state chief Uttam Kumar Reddy (Nalgonda), Revanth Reddy (Malkajgiri), Renuka Chowdary (Khammam) and a couple of others.
In 2014, TRS had bagged 11 seats while Congress won two. TDP and BJP, which had an alliance, secured a seat each. YSRCP and AIMIM also won a seat each. The MPs of TDP and YSRCP and also one from Congress defected to TRS.
The ruling party also lost one MP on the eve of Assembly elections when Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, elected from Chevella, joined the Congress.